Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BEIJING — China’s government yesterday issued a report stating why the Marxist system will not be changed to allow for Western-style democracy and why democracy is limited to within the ruling Communist Party dictatorship.

“China’s democracy is a democracy guaranteed by the people’s democratic dictatorship,” the report said.

Under that dictatorship, “democratic centralism” is used to rule collectively by party leaders.

Real power in the country is held by the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, which has five to nine members. President Hu Jintao, who serves as party general-secretary, leads the committee.

The Communist Party also controls the Chinese military through the Central Military Commission.

The government report comes as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld urged Communist Party leaders to take steps toward democracy. Mr. Rumsfeld said yesterday that under the U.S. Constitution, “it is the people that tell our government what it can do.”

China had been moving toward democratic reform since the late 1980s. The movement culminated in large-scale protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and ended with the June 1989 military crackdown that killed hundreds of people and led to arrests, imprisonment and deportation of democracy advocates.

The report stated that the National People’s Congress is a key element of the country’s democratic systems.

“In building socialist political democracy, China has always adhered to the basic principle that the Marxist theory of democracy be combined with the reality of China …” the report said.

The report states that the Communist Party regards itself as a “vanguard of the working class.”

The party has rejected copying the “Western bourgeois political system” because it “would lead them nowhere,” the report said.

The report was made public yesterday by the Information Office of China’s State Council. It was the first time a white paper was issued on democracy.

According to the report, China is working to establish a rule of law. Critics, however, say the system remains a dictatorship.

Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin, who defected from his post in Australia, said recently that the rule of law does not exist. “Whenever anyone gets in trouble [legally,] they look for friends in government to help them out,” he said.

The report is a setback for Chinese democracy advocates, who had hoped that under the leadership of Mr. Hu, China would take steps toward democratic reform.

The report said democracy is limited to the 2.8 million members of the “people’s congresses” across China and that of those, 176,000 are not members of the Communist Party.

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